Jun 6, 2012 06:43 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Gary Lee Tolley Tells Story Through Song
Kick back for a bit of music by Gary Lee Tolley, and you’ll learn a thing or two by the end of his set. “Hank Williams liked to tell stories with his music, and his songs will live on forever,” Gary says. “I look up to Hank so I try to do what he did—make unforgettable songs that tell a story people can relate to.”
Gary lets influences like Hank and Elvis Presley work their way into his songwriting and performance. “Elvis is the king of rock ‘n’ roll. He’s the guy every rock musician compares himself to. He was famous at 19, and he set the standard for what rock should be.”
Taking a little of Hank, a dash of Elvis, and mixing in some personal experience and creativity—Gary reaches out to his audiences, making them crave more. “When people leave from a show, I want them thinking, ‘I wish it wasn’t over yet,” he says.
Gary’s song, “She’s Gone,” is a crowd favorite, based on his relationship with his first wife. Gary has received offers to put songs like “Storm Coming over the Mountain,” a tribute to people in the Armed Forces, on Sirius Radio. Gary has recorded three CDs and has a fourth one that is a compilation album with other recording artists from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. Gary was selected as one of the spokespeople for West Virginia’s “Come Home to West Virginia” ad campaign and his song, “Hills of West Virginia,” was used as part of the campaign. “Our song, ‘Hills of West Virginia,’ is about all of those people who had to leave West Virginia for whatever reason and are missing it, wishing they could come back,” he says.
See Gary live:
Friday, June 15, 2012, 6 p.m.; Mayor’s Night Out, Point Pleasant Riverfront Park, Point Pleasant